Can sleep apnea cause weight gain? Sleep apnea is when your upper airway collapses and you stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep. And this causes you to wake up so you can take a breath. People who don’t get enough sleep tend to be hungrier and want to eat more food and this can lead to weight gain.
If you don’t get enough sleep, it will affect your energy levels throughout the day, especially if you want to exercise and move. One of the important ages as a young person is the adolescent age and good sleep is important to their brain growth development.
Can sleep apnea cause weight gain? Photo credit: iStock-ProStock-studio
Not getting enough sleep can affect the development of the brain region called the hypothalamus and this regulates appetite and energy expenditure.
There was a 2019 study on adolescents that had obesity and at the same time had developed severe obstructive sleep apnea. This study showed there is a link between obesity and sleep apnea. A research study in 2008 shows that 58 percent of people who have severe sleep apnea issues are either overweight or obese.
If you are able to lose weight it will reduce the severity of your sleep apnea as research studies show this. Weight loss is one of the effective treatments for sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea and obesity linked together raise the risk of several chronic health diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, etc.
Research studies have shown that people who sleep less than 6 hours a day tend to eat more food and in return gain weight. The American Thoracic Society recommends losing about 5 to 10% of your extra body weight in treating sleep apnea.
The risk for sleep apnea increases as you get older. The countries with the highest number of affected sleep apnea individuals are:
- United States
Some tips to help you lose weight if you have sleep apnea.
- Exercise regularly- cardiovascular or weight-training.
- Minimize alcohol from your diet.
- Quit smoking.
- Drink up to 8 glasses of water daily.
- Eat in a healthy and balanced way following a low-calorie dense diet.
“Research studies have shown that people who sleep less than 6 hours a day tend to eat more food and in return gain weight.” Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike
The Bottom Line is people that are overweight or obese tend to have sleep apnea issues. So, one of the best ways to reduce sleep apnea is to focus on losing weight with a structured diet and exercise program which will help with reducing the severity of sleep apnea.
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- Jehan S, Zizi F, Pandi-Perumal SR, Wall S, Auguste E, Myers AK, Jean-Louis G, McFarlane SI. Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Obesity: Implications for Public Health. Sleep Med Disord. 2017;1(4):00019. Epub 2017 Dec 12. PMID: 29517065; PMCID: PMC5836788.
- Franklin KA, Lindberg E. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder in the population-a review on the epidemiology of sleep apnea. J Thorac Dis. 2015 Aug;7(8):1311-22. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2015.06.11. PMID: 26380759; PMCID: PMC4561280.
- Punjabi NM. The epidemiology of adult obstructive sleep apnea. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2008 Feb 15;5(2):136-43. doi: 10.1513/pats.200709-155MG. PMID: 18250205; PMCID: PMC2645248.
- American Thoracic Society- https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/weight-loss-and-sleep-apnea.pdf